Water Worlds

Be swept away on page and screen

 The Messages From Water series (1999-2004), by Masaru Emoto (HADO Publishing)

You'll appreciate water as a living and feeling being after delving into these glorious image-based books. Using lightning-fast photography, Japanese scholars and scientists captured hyper-close-ups of water crystals. Each photograph transforms the mundane — like tap water in Japan and spring water in France — into the fascinating. The book's most enthralling study is the "playing music to water" experiments. Emoto and his colleagues placed distilled water between two speakers, played various compositions ranging from Mozart's "Symphony No. 40 in G minor" and a Kawachi folk dance song to Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" and energetic heavy metal, then photographed each to illustrate the wide-ranging and surprising reactions to the sounds. So cool.

The Children's Hospital (2006), by Chris Adrian (McSweeney’s)

Early in Adrian's apocalyptic 615-page tome, a seven-mile flood strikes the entire globe. Only those inside a hospital for physically and mentally traumatized youth survive. Narrated by four angels (the recorder, preserver, accuser, and destroyer), the book is a more ambitious and dense version of ER and reads like a contemporary take on Noah's Ark. Adrian, a former emergency room pediatrician and divinity academic, chronicles a forlorn medical student with paranormal healing powers and her quest to overcome heartache. Part mythic narrative, part study in contemporary mortality issues, the author strikes the right balance between the ordinary and the fantastic in his sparkling debut.

Open Water (2003)

What's a water flick without a tale depicting personal disaster, woe and death by sharks? This thrilling film starring Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis captures all that and more. Based on a true story, two scuba divers are stranded while diving in the Caribbean after a bogus head-count by a dive boat crew. The lost man and woman encounter dehydration, saltwater sickness, jellyfish lacerations and shark attacks as they fight for their lives. The cinematic details of marine life are amazing, especially considering that no special effects were employed during the filming.

The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat) (2001)

The first feature film ever shot, directed and written by Canada's Inuit people is filled with water . . . well, frozen water. You'll see plenty of it in the two-and-a-half-hour indie flick that fictionalizes a 500-year-old Inuit legend. Filmed on location in the frigid regions of northern Canada and spoken entirely in Inuktitut (don't worry, there are English subtitles), the movie's hero must face an ancient shaman curse to squelch a family rivalry in order to win the affection of his lover. The visual sequences of the harsh Arctic landscape will make you want to bundle up.

 
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